Tonight I bring you a guest post from my husband, Brian Page. He wanted me to post it as myself, but I think he deserves the credit.
On my way home the other day, I had to stop at the store and pick up a few things. Just your standard grocery run; Milk, cereal, fruit, vegetables, dishwashing soap, chocolate cake… what? Chocolate cake is not on your usual shopping list? (NOTE: his wife was PMSing).
I stopped at the lunch meat refrigerator case to browse all the different nitrate and nitrite-infused disk shaped meats. I was taking my time examining each one of the packages to determine which one was the lesser evil. As I stood there reading the packages one by one, I heard a mother raising her voice to her child.
She was more or less asking him to get into the cart, but he did not want to sit in the metal cage on wheels. The mom yelled again, “get in the cart.” The boy’s response was one that I hear from my own daughter on a daily basis. “I don’t want to.”
Now they’ve moved their cart right in front of me and with a Thanksgiving food display behind me, I’m trapped. All I can do is keep pretending to look at the glorious salted lunch meat, but now my appetite is gone. Do I look up and acknowledge that kids are kids? Tori isn’t with me, so any look or comment would probably appear as unwanted judgy opinion.
Then, this happened.
“Get in the F$&#ing cart, right now!” Yelled the mom. Not talking about slightly loud voices, I’m talking over-the-top megaphone voce.
Other shoppers in the area turned and looked, and then sped up and cleared the area.
“I don’t want to!” And before his mom can unleash another roar that will scare the natives, the boy drops to the ground and sprawls out on the floor crying.
“Fine, you can stay here in the store,” the mom bellows. Then she and I presume the husband/father take their cart and move on. The boy just laid there for a moment, but when he realized that he was alone and his parents were down the aisle, he popped up and ran to catch up with them.
It was quiet after that, I guess it worked.
I began thinking, should I have stepped in and said something after the mom start swearing at her boy? What if the mom smacked her son? Would I say something then? What’s the line of when something is considered abuse? Then my thoughts went a bit further. Of course, it was “that type” of family. They had on camouflage jackets, smelled like cigarette smoke, had unkempt hair, and looked like they were hurting for money.
I’ve never seen the “nice looking” families get into it at the grocery store, I thought. But then I remembered a horrifying video of abuse that I’d watched earlier in the day.
It shows a Judge in Texas beating his handicapped daughter with a belt over and over again. It’s a horrifying video and very painful to watch.
What’s my point in all of this? Abuse can happen to anyone. Doesn’t matter if they are rich, poor, black, white, etc… It’s just wrong.
When people tell me to swat Tori on the butt or to smack her hand when she does something wrong, I feel that that’s just teaching her that violence begets violence. Or that it’s okay to use physical power to get her way. It also puts up barriers and erodes trust.
There are other ways to solve problems than hitting. She needs to be able to trust that I will keep her safe. That’s my job, after all. I can’t stop child abuse from occurring—but I can make sure that my daughter knows that violence is never okay—and that she should never, ever be afraid to speak up if someone hurts her.
And that, my friends, is why I love this man.